For more than 30 years, day in and day out, Marion Stokes obsessively recorded American television news programs. A civil rights–era Communist activist who became fabulously wealthy and reclusive later in life, she started her project as the Iranian hostage crisis unfolded in 1979—at the dawn of the 24-hour news cycle. It ended only when she died on December 14, 2012, as word of the Sandy Hook massacre broke.
In between, Marion filled 70,000 VHS tapes, capturing revolutions, wars, catastrophes, bloopers, talk shows, and commercials that show us how television shaped the world of today—and in the process, reveal who we were and who we became.
Director Matt Wolf’s fascinating time capsule of a documentary also delves into the life of an eccentric for whom home taping was a radical means of preserving the truth, even as networks were secretly dropping their archives into the trashcan of history. Though her archival vision maddened her family, nearly tearing them apart, her legacy is priceless.
Producer: Andrew Kortschak, Walter Kortschak, Kyle Martin | Editor: Keiko Deguchi | Cinematographer: Chris Dapkins, Matt Mitchell